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Hackers Spawn Web Supercomputer On Way To Chess World Record

Soulskill posted about a year ago | from the distributed-computing-now-with-more-distribution dept.

The Internet 130

New submitter DeathGrippe sends in an article from Wired about a new take on distributed computing efforts like SETI@Home. From Wired: "By inserting a bit of JavaScript into a webpage, Pethiyagoda says, a site owner could distribute a problem amongst all the site's visitors. Visitors' computers or phones would be running calculations in the background while they read a page. With enough visitors, he says, a site could farm out enough small calculations to solve some difficult problems. ... With this year's run on the value of Bitcoins — the popular digital currency — security expert Mikko Hyppönen thinks that criminals might soon start experimenting with this type of distributed computing too. He believes that crooks could infect websites with JavaScript code that would turn visitors into unsuspecting Bitcoin miners. As long as you're visiting the website, you're mining coins for someone else."

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130 comments

Cheap (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909531)

Better than looking at ads.

How to block ? (2)

Taco Cowboy (5327) | about a year ago | (#43909783)

TFA tells us that people can do this or do that to the visitors' computers (or smartphones) but there's no hint on how to block all these ...

Anyone can share a little insight on what kind of precaution that we can do in order to block out all those things from entering our own device in the first place --- other than not visiting those websites, I mean ...

Re:How to block ? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909829)

Insert smarmy statement regarding how long I've been running noscript here

Re:How to block ? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909835)

You could disable Javascript to be sure, or install NoScript and spend a lot of time enabling various Javascript sources every time you visit a new website, trying to figure out what sources are needed to make the site work or if the site is just not worth it. Or you could just not care unless you notice the site slowing down your computer, in which case you would probably get one of those popups from the browser warning you Javascript is using too much CPU and asks if you want to stop it.

Re:How to block ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43911549)

Or o you may not allow noscript run script on site and nothing bad will happen. Most sites work just fine with no script enabled.

Re:How to block ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43911727)

Having run noscript for some time now, there are quite a few sites that will not show any useful content without enabling half a dozen different different domains for scripting. I usually don't go back to such sites, but initially it can be difficult to tell how bad it is, when it looks like you just need to enable one more domain to get it to work. And I don't mean some menu popup thing or other widget doesn't work, but there are quite a few where basic text doesn't even show up without javascript enabled...

Re:How to block ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909861)

Shouldn't someone with a 4 digit user id know the answer??

Job for a 4-digit user (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910005)

Their job is not to post comments as the rest of us do

Their job is to post comments eliciting _other_ comments

My suspicion is that the guy (a "cowboy" should be a guy) knows what to do, and his comment was intent to get others to post the correct answer (or answers) in such ways that others can benefit from it

However, I may be wrong

Re:Job for a 4-digit user (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910657)

I've thought the same thing. I also think some of the genuine lower id users post as AC.

No (1)

YuppieScum (1096) | about a year ago | (#43910763)

We never do that...

Re:No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910793)

It's true we^H^Hthey never do...

Re:How to block ? (2)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about a year ago | (#43909997)

As the AC mentioned, you can use NoScript to block these scripts from running on a site. You could also universally disable javascript in the browser. NoScript is the most granular blocking that I'm aware of, and it's granularity is by domain. This means if xyz.com has this sort of script on their site and you block xyz.com, the site would also not be able to do a lot of other javascript stuff. This can be range from no problem for the site to making the site unusable.

Re:How to block ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910519)

I run NoScript often. And you end up learning a lot about how many different sites load javascript on every page on the internet.

In practice just allowing javascript from the website your visiting will make things work well enough.

Other than that, Firefox will often flag long running Javascript and ask you if you want to cancel it. But if they were smart enough to do it in short bursts (e.g. triggered by mouse movements), it would be very hard to stop.

Re:How to block ? (3, Interesting)

Cenan (1892902) | about a year ago | (#43912005)

The problem with noscript is that once you allow a domain, it's allowed regardless of which site you allowed it on. This is a huge problem, since I might trust domain x to use jQuery's CDN, but not site y. If I allow jQuery CDN it's allowed for both. Try blocking google-analytics for instance, and see how many sites break - for no other reason than that they want analytics to run, and their scripts check for this (or depend on it in some retarded way, I'm not sure). That means in order to use a handful of sites that have retarded dependencies, I have to allow this idiocy for every site i visit.

The other problem with the granularity is that most professional sites pull in javascript from multiple domains, so it turns into a treasure hunt trying to find the handful of domains you need to unblock before the site works. And it's even more fun when the site has hidden dependencies, that only pop up after you allow a domain on the list - making the already long list expand dynamically. And of course there's no way to see the script you're allowing unless you want to sift through the entire source of the page.

This is why noscript remains a nerd tool, the menu has a function that allows all scripts on a given site, a ripe choice of you already have the "click through" mentality. What a user sees is "lots of choices, this one makes the problem go away" and once that is learned the whole point of noscript goes the way of Windows UAC - yes, yes, yes, oh shut up.

TL;DR: noscript is good advice, although it requires far more user maintenance than resonable.

Re: How to block ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43911401)

The bit coin miners should be easy, since they'd be submitting their results to some other website ... the ones that submit to the site you're viewing would be harder.

Re:Cheap (1)

Cow007 (735705) | about a year ago | (#43912359)

Better than looking at ads.

You're on to something, it seems like the usefulness and positive benefits to customers, science etc. Is being all but ignored.

Crooks definition (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909537)

Who do you call crook?
One that is mining bitcoins or FED mining dollars?

Take your pick.

Re:Crooks definition (1, Insightful)

socceroos (1374367) | about a year ago | (#43909601)

The Australian Government just passed a law allowing them to claim your money in your bank account as their own if you haven't used it in a while.

I pick government.

Re:Crooks definition (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910929)

The Australian Government just passed a law allowing them to claim your money in your bank account as their own if you haven't used it in a while.

I pick government.

We beat you.

Sweden is getting a new harsher law against money laundering June 2014. Which allows the goverment to take any of your assets unless you can prove how you got them. (In practice: they freeze the assets for a year; and unless you have proven that the assets are legally obtained, they are forfeited to the goverment).

Re:Crooks definition (1)

socceroos (1374367) | about a year ago | (#43911029)

That is pretty bad, because you're going to have a hard time 'proving' all your money and belongings are yours rightfully. However, I'd say this Australian one is a little bit worse because it is a proactive law. This Swedish law you refer to sounds like it 'could' be used against you should the government decide to. However, the new Australian law is proactive, they are actually taking your 'unused' money right now, no questions asked.

Re: Crooks definition (1)

Nikker (749551) | about a year ago | (#43911297)

It shouldn't be that hard proving the house and car are yours.

Re:Crooks definition (0, Offtopic)

popo (107611) | about a year ago | (#43909823)

John Corzine stole a billion dollars and walked away without a trial.

The government of Cyprus stole money from people's bank accounts.

HSBC openly laundered money for Mexican drug cartels, and admitted to it. But no charges were pressed, as HSBC is too big to fail.

You could keep giving examples like the ones above for hours on end.

"Crime" is a very selective word these days indeed...

Why stop there... (3, Funny)

socceroos (1374367) | about a year ago | (#43909547)

Lets just load a monolithic OS kernel written in javascript into visitor's RAM with the full OSI stack. Distribute your website to these small OSs and have them serve everyone else in the local network....

At Last! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909549)

At last! A practical form of "micro"-payments

1 / 1000 efficiency (1)

grimJester (890090) | about a year ago | (#43912335)

Yeah, I pulled that number out of my ass, but it's probably not far from the truth. A web giant like Google implementing this on all their sites would probably make an MW worth of profit ($50 an hour?) and waste a GW of electricity worldwide.

That's not actually criminal (0)

SuperKendall (25149) | about a year ago | (#43909557)

Whenever you visit any web page with Javascript enabled, you are inherently agreeing to execute some code on your system. It doesn't really matter if it's displaying animated kittens are calculating bitcoin blocks. Indeed, we should all hail this as a great thing if it means criminals becoming less criminal...

Re:That's not actually criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909635)

Well, no. I think there are limits. I certainly have not and will never "inherently" agree to execute code on my system that helps them figure out a better way to vivisect a live kitten, for instance.

That said, I think this form of "payment" is a great way to improve the web.

You won't need an article spread over 30 pages because the calculating will occur on all the pages the same as long as they are viewing the page. You won't need obnoxious advertising (and your competitor won't have them, so you better lose them too if you want visitors). The trick will be to get visitors and keep them as opposed to now which is to get visitors and get them to click on advertisements. (And fewer advertisers to track all our website visits...)

Re:That's not actually criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909949)

I certainly have not and will never "inherently" agree to execute code on my system that helps them figure out a better way to vivisect a live kitten, for instance.

I am going to start putting that clause in all of my project's eulas, in the hope that some day you will agree to it without noticing. Although, as far as I know, Apple or MS might have already beat me to that, since who the heck reads what is actually in their agreements.

Re:That's not actually criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910021)

If you can run code to figure out a better way to vivisect a kitten go for it. I always assumed a scalpel was the way to go.

The Future of Web 3.0 (or whatever version) (1)

reluctantjoiner (2486248) | about a year ago | (#43910189)

I like this idea, except it would probably have to use something where mining takes "less work", otherwise, as AC pointed out below, you'd have to have millions of users just to get epsilon money.

But if you make mining easier, then everyone else pulls out their old mining rigs and exhausts the supply of coins that much quicker. Unless you build a large amount of inflation into the system, or put an expiry on the coins.

It would be nice if distributed problems had a standard value. (E.g. The solution to this protein folding problem is worth $1, incidentally giving the currency an intrinsic value). Then some one like Google could distribute the problems ("DistWords"), and website operators would collect the revenue of solved problems.

Re:That's not actually criminal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910625)

Well, no. I think there are limits. I certainly have not and will never "inherently" agree to execute code on my system that helps them figure out a better way to vivisect a live kitten, for instance.

Count me in! URL please?

Re:That's suckingly criminal (1)

noshellswill (598066) | about a year ago | (#43909643)

Should a robust user come across such a CPU cycle-thief,  history suggests  laying a leather strap across the thief  *zzwhole and smashing a bamboo cane across the thief knuckles. That's gonna hurt! No more easy sitting and typing  JavaScript for that entitled byteboi.  Happens a couple-a-times and other folks decide it's not worth their while. Eh ?

Re:That's not actually criminal (2)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43909671)

For all you may claim that the sign on the back of your front door states that I consented to be raped by you when invited to into your home, you still don't have the right to do it and are a criminal if you do.

Re:That's not actually criminal (3)

Kaenneth (82978) | about a year ago | (#43909807)

But it's not rape if there is consent, given by passing through the door...

That's EULA logic, right?

Re:That's not actually criminal (1)

Dunbal (464142) | about a year ago | (#43909871)

Yeah, try it on a judge. Let me know how it went.

Re:That's not actually criminal (1)

im_thatoneguy (819432) | about a year ago | (#43909689)

I was thinking the same thing. I don't know that this is actually illegal or even unethical. We implicitly agree to watch ads etc when we visit a website. This could be a source of revenue far greater than advertising.

Re:That's not actually criminal (2)

FlyMysticalDJ (1660959) | about a year ago | (#43909721)

Whenever you visit any web page with Javascript enabled, you are inherently agreeing to execute some code on your system. It doesn't really matter if it's displaying animated kittens are calculating bitcoin blocks. Indeed, we should all hail this as a great thing if it means criminals becoming less criminal...

I think you've missed the idea. From TFA:

He believes that crooks could infect websites with JavaScript code that would turn visitors into unsuspecting Bitcoin miners. As long as you're visiting the website, you're mining coins for someone else

The criminal activity isn't mining bitcoins on someone else's machine, it's putting your code on someone else's website without their consent. It's not a new type of criminal activity, just a new incentive to do it.

It's still unethical (2)

Fred Ferrigno (122319) | about a year ago | (#43910681)

Whenever you visit any web page with Javascript enabled, you are inherently agreeing to execute some code on your system.

Just because you tricked the user into running your code doesn't mean it's OK to do whatever you want with their system. Users would never agree to run such code if they knew what it did ahead of time. If your software relies on lazy users who don't understand what they're agreeing to, then congratulations, you're a malware author.

Bitcoin mining in Javascript. (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909571)

... only need to get ten trillion users for three days to get 0.001 BTC.

I can already hear the hoards of criminals running to do this.

Re:Bitcoin mining in Javascript. (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#43909729)

... only need to get ten trillion users for three days to get 0.001 BTC.

Have you used Javascript lately? Modern optimizers are very good. With WebGL [wikipedia.org] you can use Javascript to run code on the GPU.

IE and Safari don't have WebGL (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43909801)

Microsoft has refused to implement WebGL in any released version of IE for security reasons. Apple implemented it in Safari but disabled it by default on the Mac and restricted it to use only by iAds on iOS.

Re:IE and Safari don't have WebGL (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909999)

"Kittens vs. Zombies 3 requires WebGL to function. Please enable or switch to a different browser to continue."

"I don't think these guys are very bright" (1)

tepples (727027) | about a year ago | (#43910145)

Anonymous Coward predicted that a web site with a hidden Bitcoin miner might use language like this to get users to run it:

"Kittens vs. Zombies 3 requires WebGL to function. Please enable or switch to a different browser to continue."

For one thing, iPad and Surface users can't just "enable or switch to a different browser" without dropping hundreds of dollars on hardware that runs a less-closed operating system. For another, users would react to something that doesn't work in their preferred browser by thinking "I don't think these guys are very bright" and clicking away, if iamhassi's comment [slashdot.org] is any indication.

Re:"I don't think these guys are very bright" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910673)

People who can't possibly run it obviously won't run it, and people too stupid to even use basic functionality are difficult to target for any attack that requires user action. However, that hasn't really gotten in the way of plenty of other security issues in the past.

The point is people will sacrifice computer security for really trivial things. How many people have install stupid crap from the internet that were just thin wrappers around malware? How many people just click through popups to bypass things (if WebGL gets popular enough and isn't outright enabled by default, that might be another option)?

I had a friend who once published a flash game that wouldn't work right without a large (> 1 MB) save file on the user's drive. So he had to give instructions on how to set flash to let the game save unlimited amount of data on the hard drive. Even if some people couldn't understand his instructions, and some idiots complain it is broken, he got hundreds of thousands of positive reviews from people that managed to follow through on such instructions.

Re: Bitcoin mining in Javascript. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909893)

Have you tried mining bitcoins with a graphics card recently? People are using far better equipment.

Re: Bitcoin mining in Javascript. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910723)

Have you tried mining bitcoins with a graphics card recently? People are using far better equipment.

Let's compare the two solutions:

"Better equipment" (TM):
Pro:
x BTC every hour
Con:
Price-tag: >0$
Power needed to run the rig: >0$

"JavaScript miner" (TM):
Pro:
Price-tag: 0$
Power needed to run the rig: Paid by someone else, so who gives a fuck?
Con:
<x BTC every hour

A single "JavaScript miner" (TM) might be slower than a single "Better equipment" (TM), but since I don't have to pay anything, I can easily deploy a million or more of them and together they will easily beat your rig.

Re:Bitcoin mining in Javascript. (1)

c (8461) | about a year ago | (#43910183)

... only need to get ten trillion users for three days to get 0.001 BTC.

To be honest, I've heard of dumber micro-payment schemes...

Re:Bitcoin mining in Javascript. (1)

pspahn (1175617) | about a year ago | (#43910281)

Did you see it in Superman III?

Re:Bitcoin mining in Javascript. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910313)

It does solve one of bitcoins biggest problems - the distressing efficiency with which it converts electricity into money.

Re:Bitcoin mining in Javascript. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43911049)

... only need to get ten trillion users for three days to get 0.001 BTC.

Just need ~1250 concurrent Raspberry PI level users or 11 PS3s or 2 three year old iMacs to make 0.01BTC($1.2 at todays rate) per day according to:

http://www.alloscomp.com/bitcoin/calculator
and
https://en.bitcoin.it/wiki/Mining_hardware_comparison#ARM

I can already hear the hoards of criminals running to do this.

ALL YOUR BAS^H^H BTC ARE BELONG TO US

These fuckers have no idea! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909573)

They'll be pissing their drawers when Medusa comes and finds them. She's not to be fucked with. She'll turn your ass to stone and use it for target practice. You won't even have time to cry for mercy.
 
DO NOT FUCK WITH MEDUSA, WHITE BOY!!!!!!

My understanding was this wouldn't work well (4, Informative)

FooAtWFU (699187) | about a year ago | (#43909583)

My understanding was this wouldn't work well for BitCoin, because the raw computing power people are throwing at it with GPUs and ASICs easily dwarfs even significant numbers of zombies, and even WebGL can't help you (too limited an instruction set).

Of course by this point the matter is hearsay... but still, Bitcoin is a tough nut to crack these days.

Re:My understanding was this wouldn't work well (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909693)

Then don't do it, fucking fuck.

Re:My understanding was this wouldn't work well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909777)

Every cpu/gpu cycle is useful - if you aren't the one paying for electricity nor hardware. I can't imagine any 'legit' use for http://code.google.com/p/hamiyoca/

Re:My understanding was this wouldn't work well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910789)

I can't imagine any 'legit' use for http://code.google.com/p/hamiyoca/ [google.com]

Would it help, if we slap a "research project"-sticker on it?

Oh well.. (1)

aliquis (678370) | about a year ago | (#43909899)

it's that or those damn flash ads using up all my computer resources anyway.

May just as well at least get rid of the ads =P

Re:My understanding was this wouldn't work well (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910583)

Bitcoin is a tough nut to crack these days.

My nutcracker is made by ASICMINER [bitcointalk.org] 12 billion nuts a second and still cracking...

This post made 0.02BTC while you where reading, thx

CAPTCHA: 'Namely' - It's namely a case of shilling.

Re:My understanding was this wouldn't work well (1)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#43912147)

All the smart people are moving to LiteCoin. BitCoin is basically deal for mining, and the difficulty is going to rapidly increase now that ASIC miners are becoming available.

LiteCoin is still easy enough that you can make a reasonable ROI with a GPU, barely.

Yay (1)

Sneftel (15416) | about a year ago | (#43909595)

I'm... kind of okay with this? Modern operating systems are hella-good at maintaining usability under high CPU loads, and the extra electricity consumed by the increased load wouldn't make much of a difference to me. If this is how they want to monetize web content, I'll take it over click-to-mute popunders any day. The "crooks" thing seems like it's just thrown in to increase the shock factor. Why wouldn't the site owners do this?

Re:Yay (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about a year ago | (#43909655)

Functionally it's identical to blocking ads to prevent.

Re:Yay (1)

TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) | about a year ago | (#43909727)

Functionally, this means the ultimate end of javascript. Because this means even ultimately secure code does not mean it can be trusted.

Nor does it mean secure code isn't malicious, it just isn't malicious in the present sense of the word ....

And that new abuse that does not fit the historical definition is coming down the pipeline.

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909889)

Functionally, this means the ultimate end of javascript.

Or it just means a combination of some more granularity to javascript blocking that is already around, or the introduction of speed throttling of a page's javascript. Even the latter already exists to some degree when browsers warning you a script is executing for too long, it will just get replaced by "This page is using a lot of cpu power, do you wish to a) let it continue at the default 10% cpu rate b) give it more cpu access c) stop the execution of this script."

Re:Yay (1)

Electricity Likes Me (1098643) | about a year ago | (#43910165)

We might see heuristic blocking of javascript come to the fore. Bitcoin miners at the end of the day have to upload to BTC hash servers, and produce BTC hashes.

Re:Yay (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43911607)

Not too worried as long as it isn't something that can keep running after kme is no longer on the site or using the browser. On a slight tangent, Zynga (or Facebook...) has hope, then, if they can make some of their apps do this...

Re:Yay (1)

Cow007 (735705) | about a year ago | (#43912405)

A fail with a mobile device- the extra power requirements eating up the battery.

phone miners? ya right (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909611)

distribute all you want, phones running js miners wont contribute shit.

Re:phone miners? ya right (1)

Phil Urich (841393) | about a year ago | (#43910037)

But tens or hundreds of thousands of phone miners would. Finally, a step #2 for the classic 1. Hack big company's website 2. ??? 3. Profit! And considering how bloated most big companies' websites are, nobody would even notice.

Re:phone miners? ya right (1)

ninlilizi (2759613) | about a year ago | (#43910207)

Not unless a radical new battery technology becomes ubiquitous first.
People would notice when their devices are bled dry in the time it takes to find what they want on the site.

Re:phone miners? ya right (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | about a year ago | (#43910647)

Not really profit. Considering you'd need MILLIONS of javascript miners to equal a single ASIC miner.

At last!... (1)

TheloniousCoward (2941425) | about a year ago | (#43909615)

A practical form of "micro"-payments

Re:At last!... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909675)

oops, we just plain forgot to turn off the ads

Better or worse than ads? (1)

cervesaebraciator (2352888) | about a year ago | (#43909677)

As an alternative revenue stream to ads, this might make sense for some websites. Many of the flashier (so to speak) ads waste many resources as well, but to no productive end other than getting your attention.

Re:Better or worse than ads? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910547)

A thousand times better than advertisements. Advertisements demand your attention on them. This would demand your attention on the content which would be conveniently located all on the same page and not spread over a dozen pages.

distributed with permissions? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909759)

I read web-pages while my CPU and GPU crunch CG in the background. Do these applications respect a machines existing load?

Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909773)

Unless I was getting something for this service you would be stealing my electricity and processor cycles.

Re:Fraud (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912235)

But you are getting something. You're getting to visit the fellow's site, no?

What a waste. (1)

viperidaenz (2515578) | about a year ago | (#43909775)

You'll need each visitor to stay on your page long enough for them to complete a significant amount of computation and upload the results.
If the amount they compute is less than what is required to for the fork and join process in the problem, then its easier to not fork and join and do the computation locally.

Every visitor that doesn't stay long enough wastes resources doing work that is thrown away. They'll also waste your own resources by asking for the input data and never giving you a result. That means its either going to take longer for that piece of input to be computed, because you could have given it to someone who stayed, but you don't know how long it will take to computer because you don't know the load of capacity of the node that is doing the work, so you'll need to wait a relatively long time before giving it to another node - or give the same data to several nodes at once - wasting resources again.

Re:What a waste. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910009)

How is this wasting resources? You can serve a website to many users for almost no cost.

Re:What a waste. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910279)

Did you even read the parent post? I'd expect better from someone on a tech website.

If you are dong a mathematical problem for something like bitcoin, you cant give each visitor a identical data for their calculations. Each visitor would require unique data, so there has to be some sort of co-ordinating process at the server to dish out that data and track it's return. That doesnt happen at "almost no cost"

If the effort spent coordinating is more than the results returned by the visitors then you may aswell have just run the calculation on the server.

PORNOGRAPHY (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909797)

Sites that have pictures of noodie women (and men) could make a packet from the non-paying visitors by using their CPU power to generate them money - I'm sure the visitors won't even notice their CPU usage just went to 100%...

and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909799)

Shyt happens already. ..

Is javascript a good idea? (1)

Okian Warrior (537106) | about a year ago | (#43909803)

I've often wondered if including a programming language in a browser is a good idea.

On the functionality side, I don't really think it adds much required functionality. The only useful functionality seems to be in validating web form data (Don't let the user submit without required fields, make sure no spaces are in the CC number, &c). The vast majority of these could be handled by changes in the HTML specification with fields specific to type, flags, and so on. Video and other media players should be built-in to the browser and be based on standardized formats.

There's a number of useless features that everyone clamors for, such as showing text in a box that changes when you click in it (such as "search" boxes), worthless animation, and clever actions that don't appreciably add to readability or access.

On the negative side, there's the innumerable ways in which the user can be taken advantage of - popups and pop-under, spreading malware, insufficient sandboxing, privacy leakage, tracking, and so on.

By turning the browser into a general-purpose computer, the industry has created yet another attack vector. All for something which is for the most part a static, read-only experience.

Microsoft added ActiveX to their E-mail reader, and it was a disaster. I put Javascript on websites in the same category.

Re:Is javascript a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43909925)

On the functionality side, I don't really think it adds much required functionality.

On a functionality side, I don't think images and CSS add much required functionality to websites. If an image is important enough, there are plenty of image viewing programs you can use after downloading the image. Otherwise, it is a bunch of people just wanting to make their websites look different from each other, or saving the effort of forcing the server to do more detailed layout and structure for a page...

Re:Is javascript a good idea? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910039)

So all you ever do on the web is fill out forms? Good for you, just use Noscript. For anybody who uses interactive web sites that is not an option.

Re:Is javascript a good idea? (2)

Kal Zekdor (826142) | about a year ago | (#43910093)

You would be absolutely correct... if this was 1995. Web sites haven't been a "static, read-only experience" in ages (many of them, anyway). You interact with web pages, not merely consume them, as you would an RSS feed. While I hate javascript with a passion, it has made it possible for us to move from web pages to web apps. Many of the sites most people use everyday would be completely impossible without client side scripting. I wish that scripting would be done in something that doesn't suck as hard as javascript, but that's neither here nor there.

Stupid summary, what about this "Chess Record"? (2)

complete loony (663508) | about a year ago | (#43910177)

I mean it's in the title, got me all interested. Then I read the summary and it's all about a stupid approach to bitcoin mining. So what was this "Chess Record" they were talking about? You expect me to RTFA for that?

Re:Stupid summary, what about this "Chess Record"? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43911423)

Nothing to do with chess.
Just solving the N-queens problem for a larger N than ever solved before. Yawn.

CrowdProcess is doing this (1)

goncalopp (1335123) | about a year ago | (#43910429)

There a startup named CrowdProcess [crowdprocess.com] doing something similar. Their business plan is to pay websites to include their javascript, and sell the computation time to developers. This way, the websites can cover hosting costs without resorting to ads.

Ha Ha... (1)

rthille (8526) | about a year ago | (#43910463)

I posted just this idea on one of the bitcoin stories recently.

Mining Bitcoins is so over (1)

Animats (122034) | about a year ago | (#43910483)

Mining Bitcoins is over. Doing it with an ordinary CPU is hopeless. Doing it with a GPU barely pays for the power consumption. Doing it with FPGA hardware still sort of works, but not for much longer. Doing it with ASICs requires dealing with slimeballs who insist you pre-pay for hardware and deliver months later, if at all.

Remember, more than half the Bitcoins that can exist have already been mined, and it gets steadily harder.

Stealing other people's GPU cycles [tomshardware.com] has a track record of success. But it's hard to do that from JavaScript.

Re:Mining Bitcoins is so over (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43911269)

Doing it with ASICs requires dealing with slimeballs who insist you pre-pay for hardware and deliver months later, if at all.

Maybe you were too preoccupied with greed to get it from the one company that actually DOES have a shipping product(Global delivery in 3Days): Block Erupter Blade [bitcointalk.org]
Proven track record with 1000s of units sold already(usb miner and blades)

Remember, more than half the Bitcoins that can exist have already been mined, and it gets steadily harder.

And almost half are yet to be taken, >40% of that within the next 3½ years.

Stealing other people's GPU cycles [tomshardware.com] has a track record of success. But it's hard to do that from JavaScript.

Yet I bet the slimeballs will still manage somehow 1dice9wVtrKZTBbAZqz1XiTmboYyvpD3t

Hooray (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43910665)

Another reason to disable javascript.

Already Happening (1)

Flere Imsaho (786612) | about a year ago | (#43910859)

The ZeroAccess botnet is known to be mining BTC. I've seen estimates of 1-3 million USD worth mined each year. Mind you, difficulty has gone up a lot since I saw that.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ZeroAccess_botnet [wikipedia.org]

It's already been done. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43911039)

It doesn't work because people will notice and unless you're getting a billion hits a day and they all stay on your page for an hour you wouldn't make any real money.

Slashdot Against Bitcoin? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43911623)

Why is everyone on /. so stupid about Bitcoin, and hell bent on making it look bad?

We are supposed to be knowledgeable nerds! Not fear mongers

Bitcoin javascript miners already exist, please check github out first https://github.com/progranism/Bitcoin-JavaScript-Miner

There are also pools that provide an embedded javascript.

This has already been done several times! You get about 3-7 megahashes per second per page. If a users opens too many concurrent pages, the host crashes. Assuming it doesn't crash, 7MH/s will get you 0.000289659043821 BTC per day or $0.035 per 24 hours of viewing time.

In short, computers crash before it's profitable. How do I know, it's been done, check the forums.

Seeing that hackers have cashed in millions with much much smarter strategies, I doubt this is an issue.

Dear /. , can we please collectively stop looking like idiots. I tell people about this site... You are making me look bad

Re:Slashdot Against Bitcoin? (1)

witherstaff (713820) | about a year ago | (#43911879)

I agree. Real geeks should know that bitcoins aren't worth doing CPU mining. Litecoin is the place for that until all the GPU bitcoin miners move over to LTC.

What about botnets? (2)

smutt (35184) | about a year ago | (#43911961)

Why not just purchase a botnet? It's cheaper and easier than getting millions of people to visit a website. And you don't have to limit yourself to JS.

Nothing new. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43912031)

A distributed Javascript project has been running for years here:

http://cgi.csc.liv.ac.uk/~acollins/pi [liv.ac.uk]

Chess, anyone? (2)

xded (1046894) | about a year ago | (#43912039)

Came here for the "chess world record" mentioned in TFT and didn't find a single word about it, neither in TFS nor in TFCs... Did anyone realize how this article is actually about a bunch of guys parallelizing the eight queens puzzle [wikipedia.org] , running it first on anything from browsers to Blackberrys, then porting it to Hadoop, and on the way to break the world record computing the number of solutions for a chess board of 27x27 tiles?

TFA mentions the word "bitcoin" in the last 2 paragraphs out of 23, and everybody goes crazy about it. Welcome to Slashdot 2013.

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